Skiing and snowboarding are considered no more dangerous than other high energy sports, however, these recreational activities are challenging and require skills that can only be learned with an experienced instructor, and a great deal of practice. Skiing and snowboarding involve some inherent risk, but generally speaking, it is that risk that entices most skiers and boarders to pursue these activities. What’s the risk? The risk is not being in complete control of where your body will go as you glide down the hill. You really never know what type of obstacles you’ll come into contact with. This is exactly why a helmet is so crucial to your safety.
Why Wear a Helmet, Anyway?
The reason to wear a helmet is to help absorb the force of a blow to the head, and dissipate the energy, so that your head alone does not sustain the total force. This could lead to a traumatic brain injury. While helmets do not decrease the risk of injury, they can decrease the severity. A study found 15 skull fractures among 27 fatal head injuries. Six of these fractures were depressed, suggesting that protective gear might be highly beneficial.
Helmets Reduce Injury Severity
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that skiers and snowboarders wear helmets to help prevent head injuries from falls and collisions. In one of their studies, they concluded that helmet use by skiers and snowboarders could prevent or reduce the severity of 44 percent of head injuries to adults, and 53 percent of head injuries to children under the age of 15. The proportion of skiing and snowboarding head injuries is higher in children than in any other age group.
According to the National Ski Areas Association, during the past 10 years, roughly 38 people have died skiing or snowboarding, annually. During the 2004/2005 season, 45 fatalities occurred out of the 56.9 million skier/snowboarder days reported for the season. Thirty of the fatalities were skiers (39 male, 6 female) and 15 of the fatalities were snowboarders (14 male, 1 female).
Ski Helmet Ratings
When shopping for a ski helmet, it’s important to be aware of how they’re graded. Ski helmets are rated on their retention strength and their ability to withstand frontal blunt impact. American standards indicate that those helmets with a rating of RS 98 from the Snell Memorial Foundation of the American National Standards Institute have the highest level of protection in all areas.
Ski Helmet Prevalence
Helmet utilization in the U.S. has been increasing by about 5 percent per year for the last several years. In 2005 the overall usage of helmets among skiers and snowboarders was estimated to be around 33 percent. It was greater among children, nine and under at 66 percent, and just behind them was the elderly. Ironically, only 19 percent of entry level skiers and snowboarders used helmets, where as 45 percent of experts did.
If you’ve recently experienced snowboarding or skiing injury, and you’re thinking about filing a skiing injury lawsuit, don’t hesitate to contact Bruce A. Hagen. Bruce A. Hagen is a premier personal injury lawyer in Atlanta!